Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Week Ending 07/06/20

All Updates This Week Follow Up Previous Posts

More Zoom Bombing of Church Services

Update reported  in April on an Churches whose on-line zoom service was disrupted by individuals posting offensive images.  The last Sunday in June, it happened again.  This time the target was St. Johns Episcopal Church in Royal Oak.  Those involved used Nazi symbols and racist words, and were persistent enough that when the church had everyone sign off and return, the disrupters once again appeared. The church had to end the service rather than continue with the offensive disruptions.
Zoom has been used widely by churches for Sunday services, despite one Sunday when there was a massive failure of the platform because of overloading.

Church Intensifies Commitment to Poor People's Campaign

The Episcopal News Service posted an article summarizing the various steps taken in recent weeks by the Episcopal Church to advocate for social justice, especially through the "Poor People's Campaign" and their Church's emphasis on racial reconciliation.  Update has covered the steps as they occurred. In addition Trinity Church, Wall Street, announced its grants in support of social justice causes, including covid-19 relief, racial justice and economic justice.  The grants totaled more than $12 million.

St. Paul's School, Conway, NH Is Back in News

 St. Paul's School in Conway, New Hampshire had hoped to have put behind it the scandal that began with the rape of an under-aged student by a graduating senior and then spread to encompass revelations of long buried sexual abuse involving a former headmaster and other members of the staff.  In September 1918, the school settled claims from lawsuits filed by those who had been abused, and in 2019 removed the name of the former headmaster who had covered up  cases from a building on the school campus.  However, another of the abuse victims has come forward, novelist, Lacy Crawford whose sexual assault by two male students was buried and ignored by the now-notorious headmaster.

More On the Cautious Re-Opening of Churches

Religion News Services reported on a recent survey by the American Enterprise Institute reveals that 64% of Americans were uncomfortable with attending services in person.  The group most comfortable were white evangelicals. Mainline protestant, black protestant, white Catholic, and Hispanic Catholic all had responses between 38% and 43% of those interviewed being "extremely" uncomfortable with attending. Another quarter were "somewhat" uncomfortable.  You can see the survey details here.   Many Episcopal Churches have responded to the rise in covid-19 cases by deciding to keep buildings closed, or delaying plans to reopen.  St. John the Baptist Episcopal in Milton, Delaware decided to offer a drive through/walk-up baptismal blessing after their on-line service as a way to do some in-person reconnecting.  The local media covered the event.  Update has been covering the slow return to in-person worship and innovative ways of doing church during the pandemic. The most recent of those posts is here.

Charlottesville Churches Buoyed by Possible Confederate Monument Removal

In 2017, the Episcopal parishes in Charlottesville were caught up in events that surrounded city official decisions to remove statues of Confederate generals Lee and Jackson.  Clergy and laity were among those who joined those counter-protesting the large demonstrations that were organized by far right groups who were unhappy the statues were to be removed.  The demonstration turned violent and one of the counter protesters was killed.  Now the churches are hopeful that the statues soon will actually be gone. Recent demonstrations aimed at removing statues erected to memorialize confederate leaders have added new impetus to the Charlottesville attempts. The city's attempts tp remove the statues have been blocked by an injunction from a Virginia judge who enforced a law forbidding removal of memorials.  As of July 1, a new state law allows a city or group to study the background of a statue and eventually remove it.  With that law in place, the city has pursued a removal of the injunction from the state supreme court.

More on Church Involvement in Recent Protests

St. John's Lafayette Square continues to be in the news.  This week, a congressional committee held hearings on the decision to use force to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square just before Trump's photo opportunity at the church.  In other news, the Living Church carried an overview article showing church support offered to protesters in a number of places.  Update has been tracking the protests, and the St. John's story.